Los Angeles-based designer Kathleen Whitaker creates jewelry with simple, elegant shapes in mind. Even her stone pieces (which cater to the organic silhouettes of nature), are modern and refined. With a studio art background that includes sculpture and three-dimensional, functional pieces, Whitaker wasn’t drawn to jewelry as a child. Rather, she possesses an appreciation for an entire approach to style and aesthetics.
She counts Brancusi as inspiration, citing his materials and forms as touch points. “I know I need to get in line when I say Brancusi,” she says. “But what's not to admire? The materials and forms, the restraint and serenity, the ambition and confidence. He leaves his viewers to answer their own questions, and to spark their own imaginations. Which, I suppose, is the very definition of inspiring.” In terms of fashion, she looks to designers such as Phoebe Philo, Alber Elbaz, and Dries Van Noten. “They repeatedly innovate and elevate within the boundary of their own individual, singular point of view. That is very enviable.” For Whitaker, jewelry is meant to be worn, and adapted, to its owner. “The hallmarks of the brand are reflective of the jewelry itself—simple and understated and classic. And I think the same can be said for the wearer.”